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National Volunteer Week: April 10-16

DBRL Next - April 11, 2016

Book cover for Everyone Helps, Everyone WinsVolunteer: a person who willingly does work without getting paid to do it.

Where I came from (Moscow, Russia), we never volunteered, at least not in the American way. The thing was that we didn’t have to – authorities “volunteered” us when and where they desired. The “without getting paid” part (see definition above) worked the same way as it does in America. As for the willingness, nobody ever cared to ask.

The most common cases of Russian “volunteering” during my time there included sending citizens to express their fake enthusiasm at state parades and sending city dwellers to collective farms to help with harvesting. I still remember spending long weeks (even months) picking cabbages and potatoes, hours away from my home in Moscow – living in military-style barracks, wearing oversized black rain boots and ugly telogreikas (black, shapeless quilted jackets) and drinking vodka – the only entertainment available in the provinces.

I also remember “voluntarily” greeting foreign dignitaries, including Gerald Ford, who visited Russia (then The Soviet Union) in November 1974. My whole college was positioned along Moscow’s wide Leninsky Prospect (Lenin’s Avenue) for about two hours, bored and cold, waiting for the black limousines and leather-clad motorcyclists to drive quickly past us, while we waved at them and smiled forced smiles under the command of our superiors.

Book cover for The Volunteer BookThis is not to say that nobody in Russia would take to the streets voluntarily. There were a few – some protesting against the injustice of the regime and some trying to force the authorities to allow them to leave the country. Yet they were called “dissidents,” and the country had appropriate places for them – mostly the state prisons. All in all, “altruism” was not a common word in our vocabulary – “mandate” was.

Of course, I haven’t been in the country of my birth for a very long time, and things are different there now. These days Russia, too, has volunteers. One example is Russian soldiers – sorry, I meant to say “volunteers” – who fought against the Ukrainian Army in 2014-15 (in Ukrainian territory, mind you). Unlike my days of digging in the mud in Russian potato/cabbage/carrots/ etc. fields, those guys weren’t wearing telograikas and rain boots, but military style clothing. They were better equipped, too. Instead of sacks for gathering veggies, they carried automatic rifles, drove tanks and used Russian-made rockets. Yet small differences aside, it’s clear that volunteering has finally made its way to Russia. In fact, some Russian volunteers are fighting in Syria right now.

Coming to America in 1990 was disorienting for me in a number of ways – mentally, linguistically and culturally. One of things that amazed me was this American “volunteering streak.” I remember asking people, “Do you mean that nobody forces (or pays) volunteers to travel to different states to help victims of natural disasters or to support a cause?! That some people would spend their time and money to feed the poor or organize and attend fundraisers?” And when I heard, “yes,” I just shook my head in disbelief.

I’m not saying everybody in this country is an altruist. Of course not. I am saying, though, that I know many people here who have done – and will do again – all of the above and more. And let me tell you, volunteering is contagious. These days, I am volunteering, too. I’ve participated in a number of fundraisers, and I’ve donated things to my congregation and my library. It’s not much, but it’s a beginning. For I finally understood that John Donne’s famous quote is not just poetic. It is a truth of the human condition:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

 
 
P.S. By the way, Unbound Book Festival is just around the corner. Would you like to volunteer? 🙂

The post National Volunteer Week: April 10-16 appeared first on DBRL Next.

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One Read Vote 2016

One Read - April 11, 2016
Vote for the Next One Read Book April 11-29

“Bettyville”
by George Hodgman

“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”
by Jamie Ford Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

The post One Read Vote 2016 appeared first on One READ.

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Learn More About the 2016 One Read Finalists

One Read - April 11, 2016

The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 115 book suggestions for the 2016 program to two top contenders. Between now and April 29, cast your vote for either “Bettyville” by George Hodgman or “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

Bettyville by George Hodgman“Bettyville” by George Hodgman

Hodgman, after working for years as an editor in New York City, returns to Paris, Missouri, and finds that his hometown and his aging mother Betty are both in extreme decline. The two share a fierce love, but a deep silence, as Betty has never been able to understand or accept his homosexuality. Hodgman reflects on his recovery from addiction, losing loved ones to the AIDS epidemic and his struggles to care for the still feisty but failing Betty. Funny, honest and tenderhearted, this memoir illuminates how a person is shaped by a family and community that are at once loving and damaging, flawed and beautiful.

Preview the first few pages of “Bettyville.”

More information:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford

When the renovation of a historic Seattle hotel unearths artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II, it also sparks memories in old Henry Lee. This historical fiction follows Henry as he remembers the racial tensions of the 1940s and his forbidden friendship with a Japanese schoolmate. Jamie Ford’s moving debut novel examines the gulf between immigrant parents and their American-born children, the innocence of first love and the dangers of blind patriotism.

Preview the first few pages of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

More information:

 

The post Learn More About the 2016 One Read Finalists appeared first on One Read.

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Columbia Public Library Welcomes Poet Nancy Morejón

DBRL Next - April 8, 2016

Nancy Morejon“Ahora soy: Sólo hoy tenemos y creamos.
Now I am: Only today do we have and create.”

These are the words of Nancy Morejón, one of the most distinguished poets of Cuba after the Revolution. They come from her poem “Mujer Negra,” or “Black Woman.” Born in 1944, Nancy Morejón grew up and developed her talent as a writer during the tumultuous Cold War era. Her work draws from her African heritage and her life in modern Cuba.

Ana MendietaThe Columbia Public Library has the great honor of welcoming Nancy Morejón on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. She will read from some of her most well-known poems and talk about the cultural milieu of her homeland. If you would like to explore more of her work, the library has two bilingual anthologies for you to check out: “Black Woman and Other Poems” and “Looking Within.”

We will also be displaying a selection of handcrafted books by artisanal Cuban publisher Ediciones Vigía. You’ll find them in the library’s lobby from April 18-29. Among those exhibited will be Nancy Morejón’s poem “Ana Mendieta.” During her April 19 program, there will be a short documentary about the making of one of her poems into a stunning, one-of-a-kind piece of visual art.

Nancy Morejón’s presentation is part of a much larger conference, “Afro-Cuban Artists: A Renaissance,” being hosted by the MU Afro-Romance Institute and the MU Department of Romance Languages and Literature. Be sure to review the complete listing of free community events available online. There are art exhibits, screenings, children’s workshops and more!

The post Columbia Public Library Welcomes Poet Nancy Morejón appeared first on DBRL Next.

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2016 Teen Book Champion Is Chosen!

DBRLTeen - April 8, 2016

2016 March Madness Top Books

After two months of nail-biting competition, central Missouri teens have selected their March Madness Teen Book Tournament Champion! We began with a list of 32 finalists which included bestsellers such as “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare, “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer and several Gateway and Truman Award nominees. Many thanks to the teachers and school librarians who have supported this program, and to all the teens who have participated! And now, our 2016 champion is….

Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

Stay tuned to teens.dbrl.org for our sneak peek at this year’s teen summer reading program, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read.” Through this program, the library challenges young adults to read for 20 hours, share three book reviews, and do seven of our suggested activities. Complete the challenge, and you will be eligible to win some pretty awesome prizes like a Amazon Kindle Fire. Stay informed by subscribing to our email updates!

Originally published at 2016 Teen Book Champion Is Chosen!.

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New DVDs: “The Roosevelts”

Center Aisle Cinema - December 1, 2014

roosevelts

We recently added “The Roosevelts” to the DBRL collection. The seven episode series played on PBS earlier this year, and is the latest from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns who has done other series such as “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The War,” “The National Parks,” and “Prohibition.” Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Profiles Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics. It is the first time in a major documentary television series that their individual stories have been interwoven into a single narrative. This seven-part, 14 hour film follows the Roosevelts for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. Over the course of these years, Theodore would become the 26th President of the United States and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd President of the United States. Together, these three individuals not only redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, but also redefined the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the creation of the National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. It is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family loyalty, personal courage, and the conquest of fear.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 28– Dec. 4

Center Aisle Cinema - November 26, 2014

wattstaxDecember 3: Troublemakers” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)
December 4: Wattstax” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)

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New DVD: “Six by Sondheim”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 24, 2014

sixbysondheim

We recently added “Six by Sondheim” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year on HBO and currently has a rating of 100% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

An intimate and candid look at the life and art of legendary composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, as revealed through the creation and performance of six of his songs, and remembered by the man himself. The six songs featured in the film are: Something’s coming, Opening doors, Send in the clowns, I’m still here, Being alive and Sunday. Art and life are intertwined for Sondheim, and it is a story of both.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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New DVD: “Tim’s Vermeer”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 17, 2014

timsvermeerWe recently added “Tim’s Vermeer” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2014, and currently has a rating of 89% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did seventeenth century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning ten years, his adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, to the north coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney, and even to Buckingham Palace to see a Vermeer masterpiece in the collection of the Queen.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 14 – Nov. 20

Center Aisle Cinema - November 13, 2014

perfectvictimNovember 18: Perfect Victim” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free/donation. (via)

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“Rich Hill” on January 14th

Center Aisle Cinema - November 12, 2014

richhill-coverWednesday, January 14, 2015 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

The film “Rich Hill” (91 min.) examines the rural community of the same name that lies seventy miles south of Kansas City, Missouri. This impoverished Midwestern town is the setting for this documentary that examines the turbulent lives of three boys and the fragile family bonds that sustain them. Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, this film was a selection of the 2014 True/False Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Rich Hill – Theatrical Trailer from Andrew Droz Palermo on Vimeo.

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New DVD: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 10, 2014

jodorowskysduneWe recently added “Jodorowsky’s Dune” to the DBRL collection. This film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2014, and currently has a rating of 98% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from the film website:

This fascinating documentary explores the genesis of one of cinema’s greatest epics that never was: cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (EL TOPO) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, whose cast would have included such icons as Salvador Dali, Orson Welles and Mick Jagger. In 1975, following the runaway success of his art-house freak-outs EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN, Alejandro Jodorowsky secured the rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune – and began work on what was gearing up to be a cinematic game-changer, a sci-fi epic unlike anything the world had ever seen.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Nov. 7 – Nov. 13

Center Aisle Cinema - November 6, 2014

hornetsnest

November 10: “The Hornet’s Nest” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
November 11: 
Bag It” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)
November 13: Tiny” 7:00 p.m. at the MU Student Center, free. (via)

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New DVD: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Center Aisle Cinema - November 3, 2014

findingvivianmaierWe recently added “Finding Vivian Maier” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema and currently has a rating of 95% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

Now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest street photographers, Vivian Maier was a mysterious nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that went unseen during her lifetime. Vivian’s strange and riveting life and art are revealed through never-before-seen photos, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 31 – Nov. 6

Center Aisle Cinema - October 30, 2014

girl_rising

October 31: Citizen Four” starts at Ragtag. (via)
November 3: “20,000 Days on Earth” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
November 3:  “Girl Rising” 6:00 p.m. at Missouri Theatre. (via)
November 3: Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” 6:00 p.m. at the MU Student Center. (via)

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New DVD: “Valentine Road”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 27, 2014

valentineroadWe recently added “Valentine Road” to the DBRL collection. The film was shown last year on HBO and currently has a rating of 90% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from the film website:

In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as the aftermath.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 24 – Oct. 30

Center Aisle Cinema - October 23, 2014

mistakenforstrangers

October 27: “Mistaken for Strangers” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 28: One Day Pina Asked…” 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag, free. (via)

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“American Revolutionary” on November 12th

Center Aisle Cinema - October 22, 2014

americanrevolutionary

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 • 6:30 p.m.
Columbia Public Library, Friends Room

The documentary “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” (82 min.) is the latest from Columbia-native filmmaker Grace Lee (“The Grace Lee Project“). This film focuses on Grace Lee Boggs, a 98 year old Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. In this film we see how Boggs continually challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. The screening is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

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New DVD: “12 O’clock Boys”

Center Aisle Cinema - October 20, 2014

12oclockboys

We recently added “12 O’clock Boys” to the DBRL collection. The film played at various film festivals in 2013 and currently has a rating of 91% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:

A notorious urban dirt bike pack in Baltimore that pops wheelies, weaves at excessive speeds through traffic, and impressively evades the hamstrung police. Their stunning antics are viewed through the eyes of adolescent Pug, a bright kid from the Westside obsessed with the riders and willing to do anything to join their ranks.

Check out the film trailer or the official film site for more info.

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Docs Around Town: Oct. 17 – Oct. 23

Center Aisle Cinema - October 17, 2014

20feetfromstardomOctober 20: “Cyber-Seniors” 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. at  Forum 8. (via)
October 22: 20 Feet From Stardom” 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Public Library, free. (via)

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